Things To Do - 19 min read

25 Fun Things to Do on a Long Flight (Ideas for All Ages!)

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown, Updated November 15, 2022

Sometimes, flights can be tedious, especially when they are long, and you do not bring anything to do! However, sometimes the excitement of your trip may help you deal with the tediousness of the flight. But that may not always be the case.

Even though you may be stuck in a crowded plane with what seems like nothing to do, there are some fun activities to pass the time. Moreover, in some activities, it does not matter if you travel alone or with your spouse or kids! Some more commonly available activities include reading and watching movies or TV shows!

Since there is only so much one can do on a plane for enjoyment, finding the best activities for you and your family may be difficult. Therefore, this article helps prepare you for your next long flight! Just a word of caution, you may need to prepare them before your flight.

1. Color in an Adult Coloring Book

Credit: M01229 / Flickr

Coloring is an excellent pastime for adults and kids alike. Therefore, if you are traveling with your kids, you can have a mini coloring party! It will be an enjoyable time for you both.

There is also a wide range of adult coloring books that you can buy. Whether you want to color nature-filled pages or pages of some of your favorite animals, there is a coloring book perfect for you!

Moreover, if you do not want to spend money on a coloring book, you can download many free coloring pages online! There is a wide variety to these as well, and if you have an iPad, you can color them on there instead.

2. Download Games on Your Phone or iPad

Credit: FHKE / Flickr

The tried and true activity is using apps and games that are already on your phone. Whether you are experienced with phone games or not, there are many different ones that you can enjoy.

If you enjoy card games or if you prefer puzzle games, you can find many games to fit your preferences. Plus, if you have kids, having games on your phone is a sure way to help them to enjoy the plane trip.

Moreover, many games you find on your phone or iPad will be free! Therefore, it is an easily accessible activity. Plus, since many games are offline, you will not have to worry about needing the Internet.

If you have the opportunity to have the Internet on the flight, it will be a great chance to play some online games too. However, since Wi-Fi tends to cost on flights, it may not be as easily accessible as offline games.

  • Mahjong 
  • Sudoku
  • Subway Surfers
  • Tetris

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3. Listen to an Audiobook

Credit: Holger Prothmann / Flickr

Audiobooks have been around for a long time, with many more people starting to listen every day. Some people even use them to learn a new language! 

Therefore, listening to audiobooks is a great way to spend your time on long flights. There are vast amounts of book genres that you can listen to as well. Plus, if you bring a coloring book, you can listen while you color!

You will surely find a book you can enjoy, from fantasy books to autobiographies to historical novels. Plus, audiobooks can help make the time feel like it is going faster since they average around 11 hours!

If you have the Audible app, you can quickly download whichever books you are interested in listening to so you can listen offline. However, you can use Libby from your local library if you do not have a subscription. 

  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear

4. Do an In-Flight Spa Treatment 

Credit: thelittlereindeer / Flickr

Traveling for a long time can dehydrate your skin and make you feel lethargic. An in-flight spa treatment can help make you and your skin feel better and much more rejuvenated. 

One of the best skincare products you can bring is a hydrating face mask. It gives you the much-needed moisture from the flight and feels great! An eye cream, moisturizer, and cleanser are all great options too.

The only problem with the in-flight spa treatment is that you need to make sure you bring travel-size products. If you bring your full-size cleanser, TSA is likely to confiscate it.

You should also take skincare products that do not have strong scents. Some people on the flight may be allergic to a fragrance, or it may be too strong for them. Therefore, be aware of those around you.

5. Write or Play Games in a Journal

Credit: SamanthaLeePhotography / Flickr

A journal is an excellent idea with many different things you can write in it. Whether you want to have something to remember exactly how you felt in the moment or if you just want to answer various writing prompts.

Your mind is the limit when it comes to journaling. Some examples of things you can write in your journal include your goals in life, your plans for this trip, creating your own tier list, or just doodling!

Moreover, if you decide to bring a notebook and pen, you can include your travel companions in some fun notebook games. There is plenty you can play with anyone!

You can also get different notebooks to help you think of things to write about or even draw. Therefore, it is a great idea to check around stores before your flight so you can find any of these! 

  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Dots and Boxes
  • Hangman
  • Finish the Doodle

6. Watch a TV Show

Credit: Proximus Group / Flickr

On long flights, watching a TV show is one of the best ways to feel the time pass by quickly. You can finally catch up to one of the shows, or a few, that you need to catch up on! 

If you do not have any shows you want to catch up on, you can find some binge-worthy shows before the flight. There are plenty of shows you can binge for hours and never get bored!

Moreover, you can download many TV shows in advance to watch them offline if there is no Wi-Fi. However, if you forget to download any before, flights usually have good onboard entertainment.

Plus, this would be a great option to pair with doing your in-flight spa treatment! You can make your seat comfortable, do your skincare, eat some snacks, and enjoy the show!

  • Stranger Things
  • Bridgerton
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Breaking Bad

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7. Learn a Language 

Credit: The Focal Project / Flickr

If you are traveling to a destination that speaks a different language than you, learning a few phrases can help. Some helpful terms you can try learning are directions, prices, and asking if they speak English. 

There are many more important travel expressions that you should learn as well. Therefore, getting a book or files you can download and look at on your flight is an excellent way to study these terms. 

Moreover, there is a chance that you might be seated beside someone that knows the language and can help you practice. However, if there is no one, it is still a great activity to pass the time, plus, you’re learning! 

8. Crochet or Knit

Credit: Scout / Flickr

Whether you already know how to crochet or you want to learn, crocheting on a flight is a fun way to spend your time. You can download as many designs as you want on your phone and crochet for hours. 

Since you will be on a long flight, there are sure to be many different designs you can do. You can make a blanket or just a few pairs of socks for your family, but it is a splendid way to spend your time. 

However, it is important to note that if you do crochet or knit, check if you can bring the materials. You can bring blunt scissors under four inches or nail clippers. However, you cannot bring circular thread cutters.  

  • Crochet a Blanket
  • Crochet an Animal
  • Knit Socks
  • Knit a Hat and Scarf

9. Listen to a Podcast

Credit: Paul Webb / Flickr

Podcasts are a fantastic way to entertain yourself, no matter your hobbies or interests. If you want a podcast filled with comedy or a podcast with tons of learning material, there is one for you.

There have been more than two million podcasts recorded! Plus, there have been podcasts recorded in over 100 languages! Therefore, listening to a podcast can be beneficial for learning a language.

Since podcasts do not require looking or focusing on anything, they are also a great way to multitask. Whether you want to color, play games, or do your skincare, it will be easy to listen to and enjoyable! 

  • TED Talks Daily
  • Hidden Brain
  • Rotten Mango
  • Days that Changed the World

10. Read a Book

Credit: Suzanne / Flickr

Books have been a popular activity to do on a long flight, and for a good reason. It can feel as if they are taking you to a different world! Therefore, who wouldn’t want to visit another world on a boring plane?

Moreover, since there are so many different book genres, you are sure to find something. Some book genres you can check out are self-help, fantasy, romance, or a new memoir. 

Those who choose to read during the flight can download books on their phone or tablet. This will be a great way to download multiple in case some might not catch your interest. 

If you want extra comfort while reading on the plane, try bringing a pillow and blanket. If you plan on bringing your own books, bringing a clip-on light will also be helpful in case the cabin is dark.

  • Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 

11. Do a Crossword Puzzle

Credit: Rob Hitchman / Flickr

Crossword puzzles can be done from books or apps on your phone or tablet. If you get a crossword puzzle book, you can easily start to become distracted and not notice the time fly by!

Plus, crosswords are fun and will help you improve your memory since they are a form of mental exercise. Therefore, it is a great way to enjoy your time while also working on yourself! 

There are some other fun games that can keep your mind active while on the plane as well. Some additional games you can try playing are word search and sudoku.  

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Tahiti

12. Play Card Games

Credit: Terri Mattioni

There are so many card games that you can play, whether you are by yourself or with your friends or kids. Therefore, it will make to be a great time for the whole family. 

Plus, it is easy and pretty accessible. All you will need is a card deck! However, sometimes the onboard entertainment may also have some card games on the screen in case you want to play with strangers.

If you have other card games that might require different cards than a standard card deck, you can play those as well. However, these decks will be limited on the number of games you can play. 

So, no matter what card games you decide to bring with you on your flight, you can pass the boredom. Plus, you can not go wrong with any of the classic games!

  • Solitaire
  • Exploding Kittens
  • Uno
  • Go Fish

13. Listen to Music

Credit: Jessica Bassini / Flickr

Music is an excellent choice on a long flight. You can download many of your favorite albums and artists and play them during the whole flight. Plus, you can multitask while you listen!

Even though the on-flight entertainment may have music, it may not be to your taste. Therefore, it is best to download everything that you enjoy listening to ahead of time. It is best to bring your own headphones too.

Sometimes, planes offer free internet services where you can stream music on different platforms. Thus, make sure to check out if your airline provides a free internet service or if they cost.

14. Go on the Internet

Credit: Ian Dockwra / Flickr

Some airlines may provide free Internet that you can use to browse online. However, it usually has a limit to how long or how much you can use. 

If you are on an airline that does not offer free Internet or texting, some may have paid services. Therefore, check your options before so you can get the most enjoyment out of your flight.

If you have unlimited streaming and texting during your flight, your phone can be all the entertainment you need. There are so many fun things you can do, such as playing online games, texting your friends, or streaming.

15. Talk to Someone Near You

Credit: Kristoffer Trolle / Flickr

Talking to someone near you can be perfect if you enjoy getting to know people. Every person has their own life and vacation plans, so talking to them can let you get to know someone you never met before.  

Moreover, if you are able to talk to someone you have a connection with, you can talk for hours and never get bored! Plus, there are many fun talking games you can play with them to learn more about each other.

However, depending on where you are seated, some people may not want to talk and would rather sleep while on the flight. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of others. 

If there is no one near you willing to talk, or you have already spoken to everyone in the aisle, you can talk to flight attendants. However, be sure not to interrupt them if they are busy. 

16. Have a Mini Photoshoot

Credit: Raul Contreras Nava / Flickr

If you enjoy taking pictures, you can have your own mini photoshoot. It will especially be an enjoyable time to take photos if you are traveling with your friends or family. 

Plus, if you get to sit beside the window, you can take many beautiful pictures of the clouds. Moreover, you can take photos of the cities that you pass by once you are starting to reach closer to your destination.

Taking photos on the flight can help you to remember your experiences. It also allows you to document them so you can share your memories with your friends and family once you are home!

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

17. Do Origami Crafts 

Credit: Gustavo Ulloa / Flickr

Origami is an easy and fun activity that you can do, where all you need is paper! Therefore, try bringing enough paper so you can try many different designs. 

There are so many beautiful and creative origami designs that even if you are new to origami, you can do them. However, some designs may be very intricate and require more work and time. 

Moreover, since there are so many designs you can try, you can download the instructions online. However, make sure you find the right ones for your level, or you might be stuck on one for a long time. 

With all of that being said, doing origami with your friends, family, or children can be a fun time. You can each see who does origami better and learn from each other.

  • Do an Origami Jumping Frog
  • Try Doing the Origami Lotus Flower
  • Do an Origami Dove
  • Do an Origami Fox

18. Read About the Different Travel Destinations 

Credit: Gabriela Torres / Flickr

You can first read about the travel destination that you are going to. This will help you get more information about the country and culture. Plus, you can see the country’s most popular attractions!

While checking out information about your travel destination, it is a good idea to write down interesting things you discover. This can help you plan your vacation and ensure you do not miss anything!

Reading about different travel destinations allows you to explore the various countries and cities for your next trip. Thus, you can start planning where you want to visit next! 

If your next vacation is already planned, you can also enjoy looking at the different countries. Each country has its own unique culture and activities that you can do, so it can be fun to explore. 

  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • France
  • New Zealand

19. Stretch and Walk Around the Cabin 

Credit: Caribb / Flickr

Stretching and walking around the cabin during your flight can be very beneficial. There is a chance that you can get deep vein thrombosis from sitting too long, which is why stretching and walking around are helpful. 

Moreover, since you are sitting most of the time, your joints tend to get stiff, and your muscles become tight. Therefore, even taking a brief walk is helpful.

There are plenty of stretches that you can do depending on what part of your body is aching. You might want to roll your neck if you have fallen asleep or do a shoulder stretch. 

While some people are comfortable doing yoga exercises on a plane, others may not. Therefore, even just walking around the plane can be helpful. Plus, if you have a kid, it can help calm them down.

  • Calf Raises
  • Neck Rolls
  • Quad Stretch
  • Forward Bend

20. Watch Movies

Credit: Paul W / Flickr

If you have been delaying watching some movies because of no time, you can finally catch up to them all on your flight. However, you will need to make sure you download enough!

It is helpful to download movies in advance before you start your flight, so you have films you want to watch. Moreover, bringing your laptop or tablet on the flight can give you a better view than your phone. 

However, there usually are some movies on the onboard entertainment that you can watch. Some airlines may even allow you to see what onboard entertainment they have so you can know if you will watch it beforehand.

Moreover, watching a movie from the onboard entertainment can be great if you are with your friends or family. You can each set up a film on the screen and watch it at the same time!

  • Dunkirk
  • Any Marvel Movie
  • The Princess Bride
  • A Disney Movie

21. Check Out the Onboard Entertainment

Credit: Shutterstock

The onboard entertainment is one of the easiest ways to pass the time. You can have access to free movies, TV shows, music, games, and more! 

Plus, once you start looking through all of the entertainment offered, you will notice that the time has passed quickly! There is so much entertainment that you can find that you can scroll for a while.

Moreover, some airlines offer free Wi-Fi and texting. Therefore, you can scroll through all of your social networks while flying, or you can stream music and videos. However, keep in mind if there is a limit to the Wi-Fi.

If none of those interest you or you become bored because it feels like you have watched everything, you can watch the map. Occasionally you can view the map on the flight and find out exactly where you are.

  • TV Shows
  • Wi-Fi
  • Movies
  • Audiobooks

22. Play a Travel Game

Credit: Karen Peacock / Flickr

Travel games are perfect for a long flight. They are portable, cheap, and fun for all ages! Therefore, they are perfect for when you are taking a flight with your family. 

If you are traveling with kids, the travel games can be an excellent way to help ease their boredom. While if you are traveling with a friend, playing a few travel games can also help the time go by quicker.

Plus, depending on which games you get, they can be magnetic! So, even during the worst turbulence, you will not have to worry about it messing up your game. 

  • Battleship
  • Checkers and Chess
  • Backgammon 
  • Guess Who?

23. Do Some Duty-Free Shopping

Credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr

Duty-free shopping is a fantastic and fun way to spend your time. You can view all the deals on various products and even get better deals if you have certain flight cards!

Duty-free shopping is so great because you do not have to pay extra for tax! These taxes include import, value-added, and sales tax. Thus, it saves a bit of money. 

There are so many items available for sale as well. Therefore, you are almost guaranteed to find something you like. You can purchase designer fragrances, beauty products, clothing, and food.

However, it is important to note that you should be careful of each country’s restrictions. Some countries may impose a tax-exemption limit and restrict the number of items you buy. 

  • Perfume
  • Clothing
  • Beauty Products
  • Food

24. Try a New Makeup Routine

Credit: Mylene F. / Flickr

Since you are going on vacation, trying out new makeup looks can be a great time. You can try new styles, and different makeup looks that you may have wanted to try but did not have the time to. 

Moreover, doing your makeup can be great for those that are beginners as well. You can save different styles that you like online and try to recreate them. You will be enhancing your skills all while on a long flight!

Plus, once you have finished trying out different styles, you can do your skincare regime! Both of these are great ways to take care of yourself and help you enjoy your flight a little more.

However, make sure your makeup follows TSA’s liquid rule. If you bring a liquid, it must be 3.4 ounces or smaller. Moreover, you must ensure all containers fit inside a one-quart clear zip-top bag.

25. Write Your Own Story or Poem

Credit: Tais Yastremskaya / Flickr

After you have read all of the books you brought and browsed through all the in-flight entertainment, you may have creative ideas. Therefore, writing your own story can be a fun time. 

You can create stories based on anything. The world will be your oyster when it comes to writing. Therefore, you can try writing many different genres and stories. You can create a new hit fantasy novel, or you could write your own memoir! 

Plus, you can all create a story together if you are traveling with your friends or family. Moreover, you can decide to play a game with it or try to make a real story. 

One story game you can play is when each person takes a turn to write a sentence. It ends up creating really funny stories if you do not take yourselves seriously, thus being highly enjoyable.

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